Antibody Drug Conjugates - A Groundbreaking Solution to Cancer


In pursuit of more targeted therapies and clinically effective drugs, pharmaceutical companies are increasing their research and development activities in biologics. Although a majority of this work is focused on monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and recombinant proteins, progress is being made in specialized drugs. Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are a new class of drugs that is gaining attention from both large and small pharmaceutical companies as they offer promise in cancer therapeutics. They consist of an mAb - an antibody that is specific to the target associated antigen, a cytotoxic drug - designed to kill target cancer cells, and a linker - that attaches the cytotoxic agent to the antibody. Thus, antibody drug conjugates combine the targeting ability of monoclonal antibody and the target specific cell killing ability of cytotoxic drugs.



The market for antibody drug conjugates is witnessing a fast growth, which is supported by the advancement in medical technology, the rise in the occurrence of cancer cases worldwide, growing ageing population, and the growing obese population. Furthermore, the increased research activities on antibody therapies, advanced drug discoveries and oncology diseases as well as the growing collaboration between research institutes are propelling the growth of the industry. Nonetheless, the high cost of the procedures and the lack of fund pose a threat to the growth of the ADC market. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the antibody drug conjugates market is expected to reach $3,198 million by 2023, registering a CAGR of 12.9% from 2017 to 2023.

Companies within the space are coming up with superior technologies to develop more effective and efficient antibody drug conjugates. For instance, ADC Therapeutics, a developer of proprietary PBD-based antibody drug conjugates, recently announced that it would deliver its presentations regarding strong preclinical data for its two new investigational programs ADCT-601 targeting AXL and ADCT-701 targeting DLK-1 at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. Daiichi Sankyo, a global pharmaceutical company announced that its HER2-targeting antibody drug conjugate (ADC) received SAKIGAKE Designation for the treatment of gastric cancer by the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). Synaffix, a Netherlands-based biotech company announced the launch of a new platform of highly potent cytotoxic ADC payloads that integrates into its existing ADC platform.
ADC Therapeutics to Present Two Novel ADCs

In April 2018, ADC Therapeutics announced its presentation regarding strong preclinical data for its two new investigational programs ADCT-601 targeting AXL and ADCT-701 targeting DLK-1 at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting which takes place from April 14-18, 2018 in Chicago, USA. Dr. Jay Feingold, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at ADCT said, “Our two new investigational programs show compelling efficacy and safety in preclinical studies. These results provide an important step to advance ADCT-601 and ADCT-701 into the clinic and enlarge our pipeline of PBD-based ADCs in multiple ongoing clinical trials for the treatment of both solid and hematological cancers.” Highlights of the data to be presented are available on the AACR conference website at www.aacr.org

Daiichi Sankyo's HER2-Targeting Antibody Drug Conjugate Receives SAKIGAKE Designation for Gastric Cancer

In March 2018, Daiichi Sankyo announced that DS-8201, an HER2-targeting antibody drug conjugate (ADC) received SAKIGAKE Designation for the treatment of HER2-positive advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer by the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW). The company said that it intends to work closely with the Japan MHLW under the terms of the SAKIGAKE program to speed up the development of DS-8201 since Japan has one of the highest cases of gastric cancer worldwide. The SAKIGAKE Designation system fosters R&D in Japan, propelling early practical application for novel pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and regenerative medicines. As a designated medicine under the system, DS-8201 has prioritized consultation, a dedicated review system to support the development and review process, and a reduced review time.

Synaffix Launches toxSYN, a New Platform of ADC Payloads

Synaffix BV, a biotechnology company announced thgrowinge launch of a new platform of cytotoxic ADC payloads that integrates into its current ADC platform. With the launch, the company becomes a provider of technologies needed to quickly translate antibodies into proprietary ADC products. The new toxSYN platform comprises four highly potent payloads offering multiple mechanisms of action and a way for commercialization when integrated with the components of Synaffix’s GlycoConnect and HydraSpace technologies. Validated clinically with well-known efficacy and safety profiles, the payloads were selected to address the two types of biologies that exist across ADC targets such as rapidly-dividing cancer cells and quiescent cells. “We expect this important expansion of our ADC technology to further advance our internal research and facilitate collaborations with a much broader set of companies,” said Peter van de Sande, CEO of Synaffix. “By providing these four distinct payloads through our new toxSYN platform, we can now enable any company with an existing antibody to rapidly establish a highly-competitive clinical-stage ADC program for its own development pipeline.”

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